Spain's decision to block the elevation of Yves Mersch, the governor of Luxembourg's central bank, to the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB) has triggered another round of speculation over alternative candidates.
The vacancy on the executive board has been open since Spain's José Manuel González-Páramo left at the end of his mandate on 31 March. When his successor was first discussed about a year ago, Spain argued against appointing Mersch, putting forward Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña, a Spanish lawyer already at the ECB. It is unlikely that Spain would nominate him again because it would do nothing to meet the complaints of the European Parliament, which is unhappy about having an all-male executive board.
But there are two prominent Spanish women who have been mentioned as possible contenders. One is Belén Romana García, a Spanish economist and a former director at Spain's treasury. The other is Soledad Núñez Ramos, the director-general of the Spanish treasury.
It should be remembered that eurozone member states nominated Mersch at a European Council on 9 July only after Spain had backed down, reportedly in the face of threats from Luxembourg to refuse to support giving Spain an extra year to meet its budget deficit targets.
Mersch's nomination will be discussed again – probably at December's European Council. Spain might improve its chances this time round by putting forward a female candidate. But given the state of the Spanish economy, success is not guaranteed.